Art-Professional Profile: Salt Lake City
Lila Abersold & the UAC Visual Arts Programs
by Sue Martin
"We have great artists in Utah," declares Lila Abersold, a 16-year veteran of the Utah Arts Council's
Visual Arts Program. And she should know -- not only is she the curator of the state's fine arts collection, she also has the opportunity to travel to every corner of the state, meeting and speaking with artists and others in their communities.
Abersold's passion for the arts goes back a long way. After raising a family, Abersold attended the University of Utah in the 1970s as a "nontraditional student" earning first a BFA in Music History and then an MA in Art History. During the 80s she worked for the Salt Lake Art Center. In 1990, she, Marcia Price and Ruth Lubbers founded Retrospective Inc., which organized retrospective exhibitions of Utah artists including the recently deceased artists Francis Zimbeaux and Lee Deffebach. The project, unfortunately, came to a quick end when she and Lubbers found "gainful employment." Lubbers went to Art Access and Abersold joined the Utah Arts Council in 1990.
Abersold’s mission at the Arts Council is historic, passed down from Alice Merrill Horne, a Utah legislator who in 1899 established the first state-sponsored arts organization in the United States. Horne declared that the mission of the Arts Council would be “to promote the arts in all its phases.”
The Visual Arts Program managed by Abersold celebrates and promotes all kinds of visual arts from sculpture and crafts to two-dimensional work. If you’ve been to the Utah Arts Council’s Rio Gallery in the Rio Grande Depot or to the Alice Gallery in the Glendinning Home on South Temple, there is no doubt you’ve seen some of the diverse creative expressions of Utah artists.
Along with Abersold, the Visual Arts team includes Laura Durham, Visual Arts Coordinator, and Kathi Bourne, Registrar for the State Fine Arts Collection. There are several ways Abersold and her team promote the arts:
· A yearly fellowship program provides two professional artists $10,000 each and an exhibition of work produced with fellowship support.
· An annual statewide competition and exhibition (this year for photography and crafts) provides a prestigious and well-publicized opportunity for artists.
· Seminars on various topics, from copyright issues to marketing, are held quarterly.
· An Artist Resource Center, in the visual arts offices at the Rio Grande Depot, is free for artists to research professional development resources, competitions, fellowships and other funding opportunities, and access the Internet, copy machines, printers, and video duplication equipment is also available.
· ArtOps, a free quarterly publication listing more than 100 opportunities for arts classes, exhibits, fellowships, etc., is published in print and electronic versions. To submit entries or subscribe, email Laura Durham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the past year, the Utah Arts Council has been conducting “Listening Tours” of communities throughout the state. The UAC staff interviews artists, legislators and other local leaders, as well as residents, to find out what role the arts play in the community, how they perceive the current state of the arts, and their vision for arts in the future.
Recurring themes in every community include: “We need more exhibit space” and “We want to learn how to be advocates for additional support for the arts from government and business.” After each Listening Tour, the Utah Arts Council produces a printed report for distribution within the community and to legislators.
Speaking of legislators, Abersold says they hold the key to the future of state support for artists. Each year, during the legislative session, the Utah Arts Council advocates for funding and other legislative provisions that would enable them to do more for Utah artists. But legislators need to hear from constituents (that’s us, folks). “If they don’t hear anything,” says Abersold, “they assume no one is concerned.”
If she could wave a magic wand (i.e., get all the funding she could want), what would she do? “I’ve always wanted a permanent place for the state arts collection…a museum setting with security and acclimatized environment…. I’d also like funding for project grants that would provide seed money for a group of artists to get together and get new projects off the ground.”
We can help make Abersold’s dream come true by contacting our legislators anytime of the year to let them know that funding for the arts is important to us, their constituents. To find your local legislator, click here
In Plain Site: Salt Lake City
Main Street Kiosks
In 2004, the Salt Lake Arts Council, in conjunction with the Downtown alliance, decided to use the eight hexagonal kiosks along Salt Lake City's Main Street between South Temple and 400 South, to host artwork by local artists. The first year seven artists were chosen to have their work as part of the project. The kiosks are used as easels and the artwork, created specifically for the kiosks, is installed behind glass.
In August of 2005, a second set of artists were chosen for the kiosks and their works will continue to be installed until August of this year when a new set of artists will be selected. The artists exhibiting in the Main Street kiosks this year are (numbered 1 -10 below) Everen T. Brown, Gentry Blackburn, Jon Caputo, Jade Mendoza, Kinde Nebeker, Nadra Peragallo, Christine Baczek, Trent Call, John F. McCarthy and Nathan Pack.
Hints & Tips: Studio Space
Salt Lake's Studio Space
by Kent Rigby
I remember trying to find my first studio space back in 1985, and what an inordinate ordeal it was. That was long before such studio venues as Rockwood Studios, Poor Yorick, Kayo Gallery, Arrow Press Square and Utah Arts Alliance. Artspace was just getting started and had a long waiting list, and the Guthrie Building Studios, then as now, also had a long waiting list for studios, which rarely became available.
To complicate my search for a suitable studio, I needed a space to do noisy and dirty 3-D work. To further complicate matters, I needed to be able to live there as well. I searched from one end of the valley to the other, and just couldn’t find anything I could afford and still be able to eat, buy materials, and pay for such mundane things as utility bills, automobile insurance and gasoline.
Finally, I stumbled onto a little building called Wasatch Plaza, at 2225 South 500 East. The Winterstick snowboard manufacturing business had the top floor of the building and was vacating to a larger workshop. I contacted the landlord and told him I was an artist and looking for studio space. He said, “How much space do you need?” The rest, as they say, is history.
Wasatch Plaza became my home, band practice studio and workspace for many years thereafter. It wasn’t easy though. Luckily there was a cabinet with a large kitchen-type, single bowl sink in it, which became bathtub, washing machine, and dishwasher. I had a hot plate, a microwave oven and an under-counter refrigerator. A wardrobe unit from Lofgrens served as clothes closet. I’d wash my clothes in the big sink and hang them on microphone stands to dry. I was “happy as a clam” and “cozy as a bug in a rug.” Not many girls would date me though; they thought I was too weird and not a good prospect, but I had my music and art, the heck with a meaningful relationship.
Ok, this is not meant to be a “I had to walk five miles on broken glass” story, but artists nowadays have it so much better. Today there are great opportunities for artists to obtain assisted living/studio spaces with luxurious amenities like covered parking, bathrooms, laundry rooms, actual bedrooms with real closets and gardens.
As many of you may have heard, Artspace on Pierpont has only 2 years left on their original 25-year lease and the owner is not showing any signs of renewing. Consequently, a lot of artists are going to be losing their studios and their living/work spaces.
Enter, Artspace City Center, a new 72,000 square foot development by Artspace located at 230 South 500 West, just south of the Patrick Moore Gallery. |0 -2|
This new project will have 18 artist live/work townhouses with skylights, full bath upstairs, half bath on the main level, and washer and dryer in the basement. Each unit has its own entry door on the front dock and a back door opening onto the interior garden area. Single artists will have no problems with presenting a “dateable” image with deluxe pads like these.
The commercial side of the project includes non-live studios, art galleries, offices for non-profits and others, and potential retail business lease spaces.
Designed by MJSA Architects and built by Hogan and Associates Construction, this project is a class act all the way. The original warehouse building was built in 1905 for ZCMI, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The interior train dock made it unique for warehouses of that era. By leaving much of the original brick and wood structure exposed, the architects have preserved the historic character of the building. The new architectural elements serve to provide a contemporary aesthetic and fun atmosphere.
The live/work townhouses are on the north side of the project and are separated from the commercial side by the interior garden area. Several large skylights provide daylight for the garden and common area interior spaces. Underground parking is available and provides another great amenity as well as secure access to the building.
The project is scheduled for completion in June of this year and Artspace is giving first priority for townhouses and studios to artists. Applications can be obtained from the Artspace website at www.artspaceutah.org
or one can contact Jackie Skibine, Director of Development, at (801) 534-0231.
Other studio space venues locally available include the venerable Guthrie Building studios at 156 East 200 South, above the Guthrie Bicycle shop. These are great little, affordable, studio spaces for 2-D artists. However, as mentioned, they rarely become available and there is always a long waiting list. Most studios are “handed-down” from one artist to another.
in Sugarhouse, next to Chroma Gallery, 1064 East 2100 South, is another great 2-D studio space venue. It is well maintained and “neat-as-a-pin”. If you are well behaved, quiet, and not a paint slinger, you may enjoy having studio space there.
The recent closing of Brad Slaugh's Poor Yorick Studios left a number of artists in the downtown area without a working space. The word is now official, though, Poor Yorick has found a new home. Slaugh has purchased a new building at to 118 Crystal Ave, which is 2590 South.|3|
The new building is even bigger than the former Yorick at over 16,000 square feet and should accommodate even more kinds of artists such as photographers, sculptors and ceramicists as there are lots of studio configurations possible and several water locations throughout the building. The building is fully heated and cooled with either a/c or evaporative coolers depending on the part of the building and every studio will have natural light, either with window or skylights.
Wasatch Plaza, 2225 South 585 East is currently advertising artist studio lease spaces.|4|
Available are 800 7,000 square feet spaces, $400 - $2,000.00 per month, and a 15,000 square foot two story building with elevator for $3,800.00 per month. Contact Neil Christiansen at 566-5931.
Kayo Gallery has studio space at 315 East 300 South. Contact Kenny Riches at 450-5408, Kenny@kayogallery.com
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Utah Arts Alliance at the Utah Center for the Arts, 2191 South 300 West, has eight studio spaces ranging from 200 to 1,000 square feet.|5|
There are also two large spaces of 2,000 and 5,000 square feet that can be rented by the hour. They are great for artists working on large projects or for classes or workshops. Amenities include bathrooms, wash sinks, refrigerator, heat, and air-conditioning. Each individual studio space is private and lockable. Access is 24 hours. Studio spaces are open to artists in most all media as well as non-profits arts and educational groups. They are looking at another building for additional studio spaces and expanding their program with dance, performance and gallery spaces. Contact Derek Dyer at 485-2105, email@example.com, or www.utaharts.org
Photographer Stanna Frampton Coury
has purchased a home at 900 South, near Horne Fine Art and Brushworks Gallery, for studio use. New studios will be available beginning May 15, 2006. Well designed, with store front viewing for displaying art work. Basement and main floor available. Contact Stanna at 801-582-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Arrow Press Square, deluxe upper level, 2-D artists, studio spaces. Contact Jeff Hein, 502-9185, www.heinart.com.
Finding adequate studio space is still not real easy, but it definitely is getting easier. The key is to keep looking, don’t give up, and work hard to make your deal happen. Your studio Nirvana could be just around the next corner.